Quiz: Guess These Animals Based on Their Scientific Names

By: Alia Hoyt
Estimated Completion Time
1 min
Quiz: Guess These Animals Based on Their Scientific Names
Image: Keith Lance/Getty Images

About This Quiz

You probably like a lot of Animalia (that's the scientific name for animals), but how well do you know their formal monikers? Every animal has a two-part Latin name, with the first word capitalized, for classification purposes. You may be surprised by how many you get right!
Which famed British singer has a spider named after him/her?
Paul McCartney
David Bowie
Indigenous to Malaysia and other parts of Southeast Asia, Heteropoda davidbowie was so named in 2008 because the bright orange hairs on its head presumably reminded the arachnologist of Bowie's Ziggy Stardust era.
A scientific name is made up of two words — a specific epithet and a generic epithet. Which one comes first?
The generic epithet comes first because it's the name of the genus (category) that the animal belongs to. The next word is more specific, and usually says something about how the animal interacts with other animals, or what it looks like. So in the example of Heteropoda davidbowie, "Heteropoda" is a genus of spiders in the family Sparassidae (the huntsman spiders). The "davidbowie" part refers to the particular huntsman spider with the bright orange hair.
Depends on the animal.
Mustela nigripes describes which type of weasel?
European mink
black-footed ferret
Mustela is the Latin word for weasel, but nigripes translates to "black foot" (niger = black, pes = foot).
steppe polecat


The red panda's scientific name is Ailurus fulgens. What does its specific epithet describe?
its face mask
its cat-like size
its brilliant red fur
The Latin word "fulgens" describes something that flashes or gleams like fire, an appropriate description of this beautiful, cat-sized animal. "Ailurus" is a genus of mammals comprising the panda.
The scientific name Panthera leo refers to which big cat?
Panthera is a genus that encompasses lots of big cats, not just panthers. Other members include tigers, cheetahs, lions and snow leopards. But Panthera leo is specifically the lion.
This one should be easy. Felis catus is the scientific name for which popular household pet?
Felis is derived from Felidae, which encompasses the biological family of cats. It's also known as Felis domesticus.


What type of insect is named after the famous singer Beyonce?
a butterfly
a horse fly
Dubbed "Scaptia beyonceae" in 2012, the new species of horse fly's naming wasn't meant to an insult to the diva. Instead, the scientist who named it felt that the golden hairs (found on the fly's lower abdomen) made it look "bootylicious." That, of course is a nod to one of Bey's most famous hits with Destiny's Child.
a wasp
Which of these animal does NOT have a genus and species name that are exactly the same?
The scientific name is called a tautonym when the genus and species are the same. For example, Gorilla gorilla (for — what else? — gorilla) or Gulo gulo (wolverine). The cow's scientifc name is Bos taurus.
Which is the scientific name for butterfly?
Rhopalocera is a suborder of Lepidoptera, which also includes moths.


True or false: people tend to like Blattodea.
True: They're awesome to have around!
False: Keep them as far away as possible!
"Blatta" is the Greek word for cockroach, and few are the fans of these insects, which are often associated with unsanitary living conditions.
Depends on the subspecies.
You Got:
Keith Lance/Getty Images